Bandzoogle is an online platform which provides tools for musicians to build a professional website, promote their music, and sell direct-to-fans for a flat monthly fee. It includes a built-in store, mailing list tools, reporting and integration with social networks and services, including Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, Twitch, and Crowdcast. Members can create sustainable income streams through their websites, including selling physical merch, singles, or albums.
Members can also build an online press kit for their music. Users can choose from over 100 mobile-ready themes to build a website. The platform allows artists to keep a record of their sales and requires no knowledge of HTML coding. Bandzoogle also features built-in marketing tools for musicians, including Smart Links, Landing pages, and advanced page-level fan data.
Tell us about yourself?
My background is in economics and digital imaging, but I’ve been breaking computers and playing guitar since I got my first 486. During my Economics undergrad, I took formal digital imaging courses and learned MySQL and more coding for fun. I have always had a curiosity about computers and technology, and from a very young age, music absolutely bewitched me. I went on to learn coding and graphic design in my spare time. I spent all of my formative years at live music halls or at band practice with friends. Out of school, my first job was answering phones at a busy property management office, and within a few months, I became the office manager. In that first year, I also got my real estate license and had a pretty successful career in sales. That’s when I met Chris Vinson, the founder of Bandzoogle and bassist of Rubberman. Bandzoogle was a startup with three staff, and Chris needed someone with a specific set of skills, that is, an array of technology knowledge and a deep understanding of our artist community to help with his new company. He needed someone with great people skills to handle customer support, and that is where I had my start; front-line customer service.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
I think your mistakes are just as important as your successes. If it weren’t for all of those lessons early on, I wouldn’t have had the really interesting trajectory that led me all the way from front-line customer service of a startup with three staff members and a couple of thousand active users to CEO of a global tech firm with 30 staff and 600,000 users. You really figure out what worked and what didn’t, and you have a good understanding of why; that is incredibly valuable. So I would tell my younger self that breaking that first computer was the start of a journey. Don’t be too hard on yourself for those “mistakes”. They serve a purpose.
What problem does your business solve?
Bandzoogle empowers artists to take control over their music careers online. We help artists to market, sell, and engage directly with their fans for a set monthly fee. We do not take a commission on any sales, and we are continuously building out tools that help artists succeed today. We have been growing for 20 years strong.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Bandzoogle was created from a need. Our founder, Chris Vinson, was in a popular rock band, Rubberman, and he was signed to Aquarius Records. When they disbanded, he continued to work for the record label, building out websites for all of the artists. This was back in 2002, and at the time, websites were just becoming the integral marketing tool they are today. It became too much for him to constantly update all of the artist sites with tour dates, photos, bios, etc., so he created a simple control panel to let artists do it on their own, with no web design or coding experience, from any location (even on tour). This was the birth of Bandzoogle.
What is your magic sauce?
There are a few things that make Bandzoogle unique. We are fully bootstrapped, so we don’t have to answer to a board of directors, and we make decisions based on what provides the most value to our members, not what drives the most profit. Secondly, our whole team is made up of artists, and we are essentially building the tools that we’d need to succeed in today’s climate. One of the biggest differentiators about Bandzoogle is that we’re 100 per cent commission free. We do not take a cut of any of our member sales; Bandzoogle artists just hit $105,000,000 in sales, and we did not touch a cent. Moreover, our customer service team is the best on the planet. We’ve managed to scale without compromising on our core values; fast response time, real human interactions, and support staff that understand our members’ challenges because they are also artists themselves. We have a 4.7/5 Trustpilot rating, and our support team won the silver Stevie award for excellent customer service in 2021 and bronze in 2022 alongside huge companies like Mailchimp! Lastly, we have quite an informal but scrappy company culture. We don’t have deadlines, we put our staff and their families before our work, and we treat each other with a really high level of respect and kindness.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
GLOBAL DOMINATION. I am kidding. Bandzoogle is happy to grow our ecosystem of artist-friendly partners and continue to help artists thrive. We do have a presence in every country now, and we plan to expand internationally.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
If I had to describe what life has looked like for artists over the last 20 years in one word, I would say it’s volatile. Pandemics, wars, and environment, and on the industry side, huge changes in how fans access music in such a short time, it is a great challenge in music tech to remain relevant to musicians and, for Bandzoogle, adapt our toolset to remain relevant. I can say that it’s never boring, and we’re having a great time doing it.
How can people get involved?
For artists, we provide a 30-day free trial at Bandzoogle.com with no payment information required. If you are looking to work with Bandzoogle, we also post any job opportunities on the Jobs link at Bandzoogle.com